Blog

Maximum Efficiency: Jigoro Kano and Buckminster Fuller

In Judo, we often hear the phrase, “Maximum Efficiency, Minimum Effort.” Judo’s founder, Jigoro Kano, spoke about the concept in 1932 during a speech at the University of Southern California. He said that for anything to be ideal, it must be performed on the principle of maximum efficiency. Throughout the speech, he argued about usingContinue reading “Maximum Efficiency: Jigoro Kano and Buckminster Fuller”

Hear ye, hear ye: Podcasts for Philosophers, Professors, and the Public.

I often cite books and articles or web pages in my writing but rarely mention podcasts. I’ve recently started listening to more of them and wanted to highlight some of what I’m listening to. If you have an interesting podcast that deals with education, philosophy, martial arts, or similar veins, share it with me. IfContinue reading “Hear ye, hear ye: Podcasts for Philosophers, Professors, and the Public.”

The “Simpler” Gentle Art: Applying Occam’s Razor to Jiu-Jitsu

Have you ever seen something and thought, “There’s got to be an easier way to do this”? A recent post from a friend and fellow Jiu-Jitsu coach, Scott Ferguson, and a rereading of Old School Jiu-Jitsu Manifesto made me want to discuss applying one of philosophy’s tools to martial arts, primarily sport Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. ThisContinue reading “The “Simpler” Gentle Art: Applying Occam’s Razor to Jiu-Jitsu”

What is Framing and How Does It Affect My Life?

Have you ever thought about how the words you use to describe an event or a situation in your life may determine the outcome or impact your reality? Here’s an example from Daniel Kahneman’s Thinking, Fast and Slow: “Italy won; France lost.” Kahneman asked, “Do those statements have the same meaning? The answer depends entirelyContinue reading “What is Framing and How Does It Affect My Life?”

Training as a Relationship: Partners Aren’t a Food Group.

Training is a relationship. If your interests are not in keeping your training partner safe, healthy, and able to continue to train, then it’s not a positive relationship. Training is about give and take. Ancient gladiators in Rome practiced different skills and with various partners to prepare to fight to the death in the arena.Continue reading “Training as a Relationship: Partners Aren’t a Food Group.”

A Way With Words: John Danaher and the Transmission of Knowledge

John Danaher is arguably one of the best Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu coaches in the world. He’s known for his incredible insights in BJJ and martial arts in general. He has a philosophy degree, which adds a feather to his cap to me. Danaher’s teaching method is something that martial arts coaches and academics alike should study.Continue reading “A Way With Words: John Danaher and the Transmission of Knowledge”

A Judoka walks into a Wrestling room…

In my last post, I discussed several elements and techniques that translated from Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu into Wrestling. I would be remiss if I didn’t also discuss some of the similarities between Wrestling and Judo. These two arts share similar rule-sets and have arguably borrowed from each other through the last century. The parallels between themContinue reading “A Judoka walks into a Wrestling room…”

A Jiu-Jiteiro walks into a Wrestling room…

While helping coach wrestling at my local high school for five seasons, I also trained Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu in the off-season. It was a whirlwind of techniques and rule-sets, with each system using various leverage points. There were similarities and differences between the systems, but I tried to focus on what united them. They were bothContinue reading “A Jiu-Jiteiro walks into a Wrestling room…”

How does Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu fair against multiple attackers?

A question on Quora made me think critically about Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and how it may fair in a fight against multiple attackers. I think one of the common misconceptions of BJJ is that it is seen as a sport or grappling-only art in recent years. While that is true in many cases, BJJ is oftenContinue reading “How does Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu fair against multiple attackers?”

Readings: Thinking, Fast and Slow (and What That Means for Martial Artists).

Daniel Kahneman is a Nobel Prize winner in Economic Sciences (decision making) and a former professor of psychology at Princeton University. His 2011 book, “Thinking, Fast and Slow,” is still a popular book for people trying to figure out how our cognitive selves operate. Though he is intelligent and highly educated, he can take theContinue reading “Readings: Thinking, Fast and Slow (and What That Means for Martial Artists).”

Fighting Without Fighting: 3 Details You Should Know.

I’ve had young guys come in the gym trying to exert their physical dominance or display their machismo. You might say they are looking for a fight. One day, you realize the muscles weaken, the speed slows, and the hairline recedes. You can’t be the young lion forever. But, if you train correctly and focusContinue reading “Fighting Without Fighting: 3 Details You Should Know.”

Kazushi

Moving Mountains: The Meaning of Kuzushi

If you ever spend much time training in Japanese-based martial arts, you might hear the word “Kuzushi.” I recently had a revelation about this interesting term. On a coaches’ forum, longtime Judo coach Richard Riehle posted that one of his favorite kanji in Judo was 崩し or “kuzushi.” He noted that these are the charactersContinue reading “Moving Mountains: The Meaning of Kuzushi”

Jujitsu

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Japanese Jujitsu: A Comparison

My main martial arts experience is in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ), but I usually attend The Greatest Camp on Earth every summer. The camp is set up primarily for Judo, but it also has instructors for a few classical or Japanese Jujitsu (JJJ) styles. My first exposure to the older systems came at one of theContinue reading “Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Japanese Jujitsu: A Comparison”

Why Complicate Teaching?: What I Learned from my Students.

Due to having back surgery, I have had to let a few upper-level students teach my classes. Usually, I hate relinquishing control, but in this case, I didn’t have a choice.  After class one night, one of my assistants messaged me. He had a revelation about teaching while filling in for me, one which isContinue reading “Why Complicate Teaching?: What I Learned from my Students.”

You Only Live Once (Chasing the Will-o’-the-Wisp)

Sitting in a political philosophy class in college, my professor noticed many students on their phones, texting or surfing social media. We then took a detour from Plato and Aristotle for the rest of the period. Instead of political theory, we discussed something more permanent, yet forever fleeting. That class was the first time IContinue reading “You Only Live Once (Chasing the Will-o’-the-Wisp)”

How to Be Happy Despite Fate’s Fickle Ways.

I received some pretty rough news. I have a herniated disc and a possible fractured vertebra. The degenerated discs in my lower back are likely due to years of training, competing, and rough-housing with big boys on the mat. The fractured vertebra came from a recent “Hey, y’all, watch this,” moments. I don’t know howContinue reading “How to Be Happy Despite Fate’s Fickle Ways.”

Readings: Man’s Search For Meaning (Suffering and Success)

In many ways, Viktor Frankl’s “Man’s Search For Meaning” is a memoir and a treatise on human tenacity. In one way, it tells of Frankl’s hardships in the Nazi imprisonment camps, Auschwitz being the worst. In another manner, the book gives us insight into how we can endure in the hardest of times and theContinue reading “Readings: Man’s Search For Meaning (Suffering and Success)”

What You Should Do Right Now — Tactical Training Systems – Reblog

JD lists some of the most important things you can do to be prepared for uncertain and unsettling times. For the full explanation of each item, check out his blog. It’s full of important information. Here is his list: First, immediately develop a communications plan…   Second, immediately collect open-source intelligence (OSINT)…   Third, checkContinue reading “What You Should Do Right Now — Tactical Training Systems – Reblog”

2 Reasons to Improve Your Body Language

How many times have you seen the memes on social media displaying how nature differentiates apex predators? There’s one with a black snake that looks like a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt. Then there’s one (see inset) about people with cauliflower ears. These memes make for an interesting discussion. What about your appearance indicates you knowContinue reading “2 Reasons to Improve Your Body Language”

How You Can Learn Empathy from a Book About War

Sun Tzu and Spying on the Enemy In a webinar on Tactical Communication put on by the Verbal Judo Institute, the instructor often cited Sun Tzu’s Art of War. In Verbal Judo, one of the key parts of de-escalation and tactical communication is empathy. Several definitions are floating around, but in essence, empathy is theContinue reading “How You Can Learn Empathy from a Book About War”

The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell

Readings: The Tipping Point (Changing Your Environment, part 2)

In my last post, I mentioned James Clear’s book, Atomic Habits. Before reading that book, I read Malcolm Gladwell’s book, The Tipping Point. The two books were written over 15 years apart, but they both discuss elements of our environment and how those elements shape who we are and how we can change, for betterContinue reading “Readings: The Tipping Point (Changing Your Environment, part 2)”

Toilet Paper

Persevering with Patience (Perspective for a Pandemic)

Amid the mire of COVID-19 (the Corona Virus), I have been soul-searching for what matters most in life. Judging by the pilfering of the bread aisle and toilet paper from grocery stores, it would seem that many think bathroom visits and toast are essential to human prosperity. The world is watching, waiting to see whatContinue reading “Persevering with Patience (Perspective for a Pandemic)”

The Obstacle is the Way

Readings: The Obstacle is the Way – The Timeless Art of Turning Trials into Triumph

Continuing with a previous post about failure and how it can lead to successes, I want to discuss a book I am reading. For Christmas, I received Ryan Holiday’s “The Obstacle is the Way: The Timeless Are of Turning Trials into Triumph.” I have been a follower of Holiday’s blog, The Daily Stoic, and I’veContinue reading “Readings: The Obstacle is the Way – The Timeless Art of Turning Trials into Triumph”

Requisite level of skill – Reblog

Originally posted on tacticalprofessor:
As long as a person can consistently (95% of one shot presentations) hit a target the size of two sheets of paper, stacked in landscape orientation, at four yards, they have the requisite level of marksmanship skill to dominate 99% of personal protection shooting incidents by non-sworn personnel. That’s not a…

Guns Don’t Keep You Safe – Reblog

Originally posted on Aaron Jannetti:
How many of you just got real pissed at that title? Hahahahahaha I love the internet. Seriously though…they don’t.  At some point in time we decided that getting a gun created safety. The problem is that there was a HUGE piece of information missing from this thought. The simple fact…

Reading and Literacy (and Maybe Even Humanity) – Reblog

Originally posted on Gun Culture 2.0:
Self-defense trainer and man of letters Greg Ellifritz (Active Response Training) recently wrote an instructive blog post on “Institutional Memory.” It was occasioned by an essay by Chris Cerino (of “Top Shot” fame) titled A Short History Of Pistol Shooting Techniques. Gratuitous photo of me drinking beer with Chris Cerino…

Competition

Keep your head up.

We were just kids who wanted to wrestle. It’s hard to believe where we all are today. It seems like a different world. As we progress through our journey in martial arts, we face many obstacles such as learning curves, harder techniques, and tougher opponents. The young men in this picture faced obstacles over theContinue reading “Keep your head up.”